Oslo School of Architecture and Design, AHO

A stranded spaceship, a futuristic ruin or a gigantic insect: whatever Knut Åsdam’s glistening black sculpture outside the Oslo School of Architecture and Design reminds you of, you are welcome to sit on it.

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  • Recombinant place: Cloaked mirror body, Knut Åsdam. Photographer: Kim Müller
  • "Recombinant place: Cloaked mirror body
  • "Recombinant place: Cloaked mirror body
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About the project

About the project

Knut Åsdam is one of the most internationally renowned Norwegian artists of his generation. In 2001, he was commissioned to create an artwork for the new premises of the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The result was the sculpture “Recombinant Place: Cloaked Mirror Body”. With its glossy black surface, the sculpture has become a familiar feature of this area of the city. Its location, on the very edge of the school’s campus on Maridalsveien, is adjacent to the large areas of parkland surrounding the school, which neighours both the Akerselva River and Kuba Park.

The sculpture is U-shaped, with its open end opposite the main entrance to the school. From there, the sculpture rises almost at one with the sloping grass lawn. The sculpture is sunken into the grass, and takes the form of a bench within the landscape. The structure is made of glass-fibre laminate with a deep glossy black finish. The shape may remind some people of a section of an amphitheatre, although its almost extreme graphic form may also lead one’s thoughts towards science fiction and Utopian ideas in popular culture. Seen from above, it may appear reminiscent of a flattened Darth Vader helmet, while from the side it may resemble a sleekly designed spaceship cockpit.

Åsdam imposed a requirement that the sculpture should not be fenced off. It was important to him that the sculpture should be accessible and inviting to the many passers-by along the river, day and night. The accessibility of the sculpture has also exposed it to urban everyday and social life – graffiti and tagging have at times set their marks on the sculpture, and ever since the sculpture was completed, its almost impossibly shiny surface has borne the evidence of contact with people and animals. Right from the beginning this has been a fundamental aspect of the sculpture from the artist’s point of view – Åsdam is particularly known for his thorough artistic investigations of how people are affected by their surroundings and by architecture.

In 2014, extensive restoration became necessary due to the severity of damage to the sculpture. In June 2016 the sculpture was back in place so that it can once again become a meeting place for architecture students and passers-by.





Maridalsveien 29, 0175 Oslo

Date completed


Project manager

Heidi Ramsvik

Art consultant/Art Committee

Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverrbakk


Jarmund/Vigsnæs arkitekter

Building owner/developer





Tilgjengelig for publikum


Art scheme for new government-owned buildings



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